Case scenario: You are out for a stroll. You come upon a man walking his pit bull dog and you notice that the dog is not on a leash. You proceed with caution, a little wary because unfamiliar and unleashed dogs make you uncomfortable. As you attempt to pass, the dog lunges at you and bites you on your calf. The dog’s owner manages to get control of his dog, profusely apologizes to you and continues on his way. Under New York City Dog Bite Law, what rights and remedies, if any, do you have?
New York Dog Bite Laws
New York City Dog Bite Laws are a mixed bag. New York has not codified when an owner will be statutorily liable for a dog bite, unless the case involves a dog that has been deemed “dangerous.” However, if the dog owner is negligent in allowing his dog to bite someone, he may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $800 depending on the severity of the injury.
Common Law Liability and the “One Bite Rule”
Under common law liability, if a dog owner is aware, or should be aware of his dog’s propensity to bite, the owner will be liable for any injuries to others caused by his dog’s attack. If there is no evidence that the dog’s owner should have known that the dog would bite someone, the person on the receiving end of the bite must prove that the owner was negligent and that, that negligence was the cause of the attack and the resulting injuries. This is more commonly known as the “one bite rule.” In the case scenario above, one issue comes to mind. The dog owner did not have his dog on a leash, meaning that he did not have sufficient control over the dog should the dog lunge at and bite anyone passing by.
Dangerous Dog Liability
The owners of dogs considered to be dangerous are liable for the medical costs of the dog bite victim as long as the attack was not precipitated by actions of the victim. Pit bulls are listed among the top ten most dangerous breeds in the nation. There are ongoing studies that tend to show that pit bulls have been given a bad rap, and that this reputation is not deserved. However, this badge has been attached to this breed, deservedly so or not, because the number of deaths by pit bulls is higher than any other breed.
Dog bites can be slight to severe. You do have certain rights and remedies if you have been bitten by a dog. Your first step, after getting medical treatment for your injuries, is to consult with a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of another, it is important that you have someone on your side that is knowledgeable about your rights and any remedies you might be entitled to. You will need an experienced personal injury law attorney. Please contact us today, by phone at 1-877-363-7942, or take advantage of our online case evaluation form to schedule your initial case review.
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